Posted by: coolethan77 | October 1, 2012

What we talk about when we talk about Reality

The question of the nature of reality is one of the fundamental concepts that has driven human inquiry for millennia. Many great thinkers throughout history have put forth the proposition of objective reality and attempted to explain its nature or to formulate the realm of existence in which it consists. But when we attempt to penetrate the ideas of these great philosophers more deeply, we find that all of their epistemological and metaphysical conceptions are dependent, to at least some degree, on abstractions and, ultimately, faith. In other words, big-T Truth remains illusive to human beings.

So when our textbook tells us that “Media products do not show or present the real world; they construct and represent reality,” what it is failing to mention is the fact that “the real world” exists beyond the reach of our human faculties and subjective experience.

So as media professionals who traffic in the ideas that represent or construct our world, how do we act as moral agents? Do we have a responsibility to try and promote a deeper understanding of the interdependent nature of our existence? 


  1. There is only Creative Nonfiction.

    Apparently, we can’t tell us the Truth because even if we were somehow capable, objective reality can’t be relayed through language. Cameras can’t tell us the truth because they’re a two-dimensional representation and the resultant images are the product of creative choices. Maps don’t tell us the truth because the European cartographer’s cartel benefit from the status-quo.

    With all this in mind, if journalists are meant to be mediators between reality and its occupants, how are we to be seen as anything other than manipulative slimeballs? As producers of anything other than propaganda? How can any authored journalistic creation be anything other than “the truth as I see it,” that is unlikely to speak to anyone who has a contrary opinion? Was it ever any different?

    PS**Throughout my reading of Part 1, I was continually reminded of the RadioLab’s “The Fact of the Matter” released the week prior. The podcast episode focused on how a seemingly simple set of facts can actually point us to different understandings of Truth. If you haven’t heard this episode, do. It’s a good ‘un.

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